Proposal to Force Hotels to Offer Vacant Rooms to Homeless Lands on LA's 2024 Ballot

Brittany M. Hughes | August 26, 2022
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Californians in Los Angeles will soon have a chance to vote on a measure that would force hotels to offer vacant rooms to homeless people.

This isn’t a joke.

According to one report from CNN, there are more than 60,000 homeless people sleeping on the streets of LA every night, in the shadow of hotels with some 20,000 empty rooms.

A hotel workers union called  “Unite Here Local 11” launched a petition and actually gathered enough signatures to land the measure on the 2024 ballot. If passed by a majority vote, hotels would be required to report room vacancies by 2 p.m. every day, and those rooms would be offered to the homeless population.

If passed, hotels would be compelled to accept "fair market price" vouchers to rent those rooms to the homeless - although the proposal doesn't say where the money for those vouchers would come from.

Kurt Petersen, co-founder of Unite Here, said that while the new proposed rule shouldn’t be the only solution to the city’s homeless problem, “hotels have a role to play” in getting vagrants off the streets.

Stuart Waldman, president of the Valley Industry & Commerce Association, called the idea "just insane," while Councilman Joe Buscaino told KTLA the plan was “the dumbest measure” he's ever seen.

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Not surprisingly, hotel managers, many of whom are still picking up the pieces of businesses broken and damaged during the COVID shutdowns, say that on top of the fiscal burden of hosting large numbers of non-paying “customers,” they’re very concerned about the safety of their staff and guests, as well as how opening their doors to a rotating door of homeless people – who haven’t been vetted, and many of whom suffer from mental health issues – would affect their clientele.

“We are not professionally or any other way equipped with any of the supporting mechanisms that any of the homeless guests would require,” one Motel 6 manager pointed out.

But never mind those details - just leave it to California to think forcing businesses to foot the bill for a problem will automatically fix it.